Elegant Padova -- known in English as Padua -- is home to an ancient university, a Basilica that is an important centre for pilgrims and a chapel containing one of the world’s greatest art treasures. Use this website to help you plan a visit to this fascinating northern Italian city and find your way to the other beautiful towns and villages in the Veneto that are perhaps less well known to tourists.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Padova prepares to celebrate Christmas

Christmas tree in Padova
Christmas tree in Padova
The lights and trimmings are up in Padova as the city marks the official beginning of the festive season.
Il giorno dell’immacolata concezione (the day of the immaculate conception) has been celebrated for centuries in Italy on 8 December.
It is an official festa (feast day) when the immaculate conception of Jesus is celebrated in the Christian calendar. But most of the shops in Padova are open as usual and do a brisk trade as people do their Christmas shopping.
As in many other countries across the world, Christmas shopping actually begins earlier than 8 December in Italy, with Christmas trees, lights and decorations starting to go up during November.
But Padova’s two famous market squares, Piazza della Frutta and Piazza delle Erbe will be even busier than usual from now until Christmas Eve.
Buona Festa!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Look out for Vino Novello in Padova

Vino Novello on sale in Padova
A display of Vino Novello in a Padova supermarket
November is a good time to visit Padova when Vino Novello goes on sale.
The light, fruity, new wine is enjoyable to drink and a bargain buy to take home with you.
Vino Novello is similar in taste, body and colour to the French Beaujolais Nouveau, which is exported to other countries after its release.
Like Beaujolais Nouveau, Italy's new wine should be drunk quickly after the bottle is opened. Unopened bottles should be kept for only a few months.
Italy's Vino Novello 2012 was launched on 6 November, ten days ahead of Beaujolais Nouveau and you will see it on sale in many supermarkets, wine shops and bars.
The Veneto is a major area for production, with the merlot grape being the one most used.
Whereas 100 per cent carbonic maceration is used to produce Beaujolais Nouveau, only 30 per cent is required for Vino Novello.
However, one Italian Vino Novello produced using 100 per cent carbonic maceration is Bardolino Novello, made in the area around the resort of Bardolino on Lake Garda in the Veneto.
The Bardolino wine consortium say they use 100 per cent carbonic maceration in order to produce an excellent wine.
So take any opportunity to taste Bardolino Novello while on holiday in Padova. Salute!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Feast your eyes on Padova’s famous market squares

Bar under the porticos of Palazzo della Ragione
Foodies will love exploring the two squares on either side of Padova’s  Palazzo della Ragione, which are the sites for large markets selling fruit, vegetables and other goods.
The Piazza della Frutta and the Piazza delle Erbe have been at the heart of the commercial centre of Padova since the 13th century.
If you can’t find what you are looking for on any of the hundreds of market stalls that fill both squares, there are shops selling meat, cheese, fish and specialist ingredients for cooking under the porticos on either side of the Palazzo.
It is pleasant to sit at one of the bars and have a drink and a snack while observing the lively scenes taking place in the squares or you can buy food to eat on the move from some of the stalls or vans that have come to do business there.
Stall in Piazza delle Erbe
The huge Palazzo della Ragione was built to serve as Padova’s law court and council chamber in 1218 and the markets quickly became established on both sides of the building.
From Via 8 Febbraio you can reach the Piazza della Frutta by turning down Via Oberdan or to get to Piazza delle Erbe go down Via Municipio.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What to eat and drink in Padova

Free guide to restaurants in Padova

There are many good restaurants in Padova serving fine Italian food and visitors will have no difficulty finding places to eat.
The tourist offices in the city give out the publication Gustare Padova, a free guide to recommended restaurants, if requested.
While in Padova there is a unique opportunity to try some of the local specialities rather than just sticking to tried and trusted favourite dishes.
Cucina padovana (Padovan cooking) is similar to that of Venice but with a few traditions all of its own.
Look out for risotto ricco alla padovana which is served with duck and chicken and risotto with radicchio, a vegetable grown locally.
Popular pasta dishes include tortelli di zucca dolce (sweet pumpkin stuffed ravioli) and bigoli con ragu d’anatra (little strings of pasta with a duck sauce).
Various cuts of chicken and duck, served with a variety of different sauces and vegetable accompaniments, feature strongly among secondi piatti in most restaurants.  
It is good to sample the wines produced in the area and in Padova you will see Pinot Bianco and Soave among the white wines on many menus.
If you like red wine you will be spoilt for choice as Merlot, Bardolino and Valpolicella are all produced in the Veneto .
And if you fancy something sparkling make sure you sample some light, refreshing Prosecco while in Padova.
Not far from the city is the so called strada del Prosecco, the road between Valdobbiadene and Conegliano, which is lined with wineries producing Prosecco DOC (Denominazione di Origine Controllata), the stamp of quality given to the best Italian wines.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Spend the day in Venice

A gondola glides down the Grand Canal
From Padova it is quick and easy to get to Venice by train, meaning you can enjoy a full day out in one of the most popular cities in the world at relatively little cost.
There are frequent, direct trains from Padova to the Santa Lucia railway station in Venice. The more expensive Eurostar express trains take about 15 minutes but you can also make the journey on one of the local regionale services in about 35 minutes for as little as €3 for a single ticket.

When you arrive at Santa Lucia and come out of the station you will be greeted by the magnificent sight of the Grand Canal in front of you.

You could choose to sail down to Piazza San Marco in style on a vaporetto or to walk down Lista di Spagna and through fascinating back streets in the direction of the Rialto bridge and Piazza San Marco.

You could also cross the Ponte degli Scalzi bridge over the Grand Canal and walk through the narrow streets of the Santa Croce area towards the Rialto .
You can explore alleyways and squares, occasionally crossing little bridges, to your heart’s content, knowing whichever route you take will bring you to the Rialto in the end.
It is impossible to get lost because at the end of each alleyway there are signs for either Rialto and San Marco or Ferrovia and Piazzale Roma, the railway station and bus station.
The area between the railway station and Rialto is well off for shops, bars and restaurants, with prices tending to be lower than those charged by establishments closer to Piazza San Marco.
Walking through the Santa Croce area in the direction of the Rialto will bring you to the Campo della Pescheria and Venice’s famous fish market, which has recently been developed into a vibrant area with bars and restaurants where you can eat outside looking out over the Grand Canal.
There is now a new water bus stop for this area called Rialto Mercato.
Local specialities to try: Sample sarde in saor (sardines served with an Italian  sweet and sour sauce), fegato alla veneziana (tender calf’s liver cooked on a bed of onions) or zuppa di cozze (mussels with white wine, garlic and parsley).
Local wines to taste: White: Soave, which is so well known internationally, is made from grapes grown in the vineyards around the nearby hilltop town of Soave. Also look out for Tocai and Bianco di Custoza on Venice restaurant menus.
Red: Valpolicella is a pleasant, light, fruity wine made in the area between Verona and Lake Garda.
Frizzante: If you fancy something sparkling try Prosecco, a lovely wine produced around the areas of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano in the Veneto. Prosecco is an ideal aperitivo before lunch and dinner and a refreshing drink to order in a bar when you are having a break from sight seeing.
Travel Tip: A single ticket for the vaporetto is €7 so it is worth buying a travel card for your time in Venice for use on both water and land transport. At €18 for 12 hours you will need to use the vaporetto just three times to make a saving.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Hotel Europa is handy for historic centre of Padova

Entrance to Hotel Europa
Close to the Scrovegni Chapel, convenient for the tram and in the heart of the most exclusive shopping area, the four star Hotel Europa is in an excellent location in Padova.

A large, smart, comfortable hotel in Largo Europa, the Europa is just a short walk from the historic centre of Padova and the bars, restaurants and shops in Piazza della Frutta and Piazza delle Erbe.

The Eremitani Church and Scrovegni Chapel are only a street away while some of the best shops and department stores in the city are virtually on the doorstep.

The hotel serves an excellent buffet breakfast and the friendly staff are always on hand to advise about what to see and do in Padova, or to provide restaurant recommendations and book taxis.

Next to the hotel is one of Padova’s most historic restaurants, Trattoria Zaramella, which was recommended in the 2009 Michelin Guide.

And a few metres from the hotel at the end of Largo Europa there are stops for the tram service to the railway station and the tram that goes to Basilica di Sant’Antonio and Prato della Valle.

There is free wifi throughout the hotel and there are meeting rooms and special facilities available for business travellers.

For more information, to check prices and make a reservation, visit our hotel bookings partner www.venere.com

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Elegant Caffe Pedrocchi part of Padova's history

The historic Caffe Padrocchi is at the heart
of daily life in Padova
Right in the centre of Padova, the Caffe Pedrocchi has for nearly two centuries been a meeting place for business people, students, intellectuals and writers.
Founded by coffee maker Antonio Pedrocchi in 1831, the café was designed in neoclassical style by architect Giuseppe Jappelli and each side is edged with Corinthian columns.
Caffe Pedrocchi quickly became a centre for the Risorgimento movement, which was dedicated to liberating Italy from Austrian rule.
The café also became popular with students and artists because of its location in Via VIII Febbraio close to Palazzo Bo, the main university building. It was at the centre of a student uprising in 1848.
It later became famous even outside Padova as a venue that never closed its doors, where people were welcome to come to talk, read, play cards and debate as well as to eat or drink, at any hour of the day.
The upstairs rooms are elaborately decorated in medieval, Moorish, Egyptian and Greek style and are now used for lectures, concerts and exhibitions.
Caffe Pedrocchi has become a Padova institution and is a must-see sight for visitors. You can enjoy coffee, drinks and snacks all day in the elegant surroundings. A lunch menu is served between 12.30 and 14.30 every day except Wednesdays.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Padova’s famous university was housed in ancient tavern

Palazzo del Bò
The University of Padova , originally established in 1222, is one of the oldest universities in the world - second in Italy only to the University of Bologna.
The main university building is Palazzo del Bò in Via 8 Febbraio, which was named after the tavern known as Il Bò (‘the ox’ in Venetian dialect) that had been acquired by the university as new premises in 1493.
Originally this building housed the university’s renowned medical faculty. You can take a guided tour and see the pulpit that was used by Galileo when he taught at the university between 1592 and 1610 and the anatomy theatre, built in 1594, which is the oldest surviving medical lecture theatre in the world today.
The university grew larger in the 16th century and other buildings near Palazzo del Bò became part of the complex. The palazzo itself was modified at this time by architect Andrea Moroni.
Today Palazzo del Bò has two main wings. There is a 19th century part, which was restored in the last century, and the older wing is to the left hand side of the building.
To find Palazzo del Bò, leave Piazza Cavour, passing Caffe Pedrocchi on your right, and walk down Via 8 Febbraio. The university building is on the left hand side of the street at its corner with Via San Francesco.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Padova celebrates Festa di Sant’Antonio

The Basilica di Sant'Antonio
Padova has enjoyed several days of services, concerts and events to mark the 2012 Festa di Sant’Antonio.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 visitors congregated in the city for the saint’s feast day on 13 June.
Special services were held in the Basilica di Sant’Antonio and a statue of the saint was carried through the streets in the early evening.
The celebrations continued in soaring temperatures over the next few days as pilgrims from all over the world visited the Basilica, which houses the saint’s tomb and relics.
Antonio (Anthony in English) was born in Portugal where he became a Catholic priest and a friar of the Franciscan order. He died on 13 June, 1231 in Padova and was declared a saint by the Vatican a year after his death, which is considered to be a remarkably short space of time.
Antonio is one of the most loved of all the saints and his name is regularly invoked by Italians to help them recover lost items.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Palazzo della Ragione dominates centre of Padova

The Palazzo della Ragione dominates
Padova's market squares

In the medieval heart of Padova, the enormous Palazzo della Ragione (palace of reason) separates the two market squares, the Piazza delle Erbe and the Piazza della Frutta.
The palace was built at the beginning of the 13th century to house the court of justice on the upper floor and to provide space for shops under the porticos at ground level.
Inside the building, there is a vast main hall, known locally as il Salone. It is believed to be the largest medieval hall in the world, measuring an impressive 80m (260 ft) long by 27m (90 ft) wide.
The palace was enlarged in 1306 by the addition of external loggias and the building of the current roof, which is in the shape of a ship’s keel. Although the building was damaged by fire in the 15th century and a tornado in the 18th century, it has remained an impressive landmark at the hub of commercial activity in Padova.
The squares on either side of the palace are lined with fascinating shops, bars, restaurants and historic buildings and have been the locations for the city’s food market for more than 800 years.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sample some Prosecco – the perfect pick-me-up for tired tourists

A Prosecco from

Look out for Prosecco, a refreshing, delicate sparkling white wine sold by the glass in many bars in Padova.
Named after the variety of grape it is made from, Prosecco is lighter and more delicate than Champagne because it is bottled while young rather than being fermented.
It is made in the areas of Valdobbiadene and Conegliano in the Veneto, to the north east of Padova.
It was probably named after the town of Prosecco near Trieste where the grape, one of Italy’s oldest, is believed to have originated.
Italy produces 150 million bottles of Prosecco a year, mostly from the area around Valdobbiadene.
Fortunately for the rest of the world, Prosecco travels well and is reasonably priced when put on sale. It is best drunk young.
When on holiday in Italy, Prosecco is the ideal aperitivo to enjoy before lunch and dinner and is a refreshing drink to order in a bar when you are having a break from sight seeing. Salute!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ristorante Zairo recalls history of Prato della Valle

Dine out in style while you are in Padova at Ristorante Pizzeria Zairo in Prato della Valle.

A bas relief of chariot races at Zairo
The elegant restaurant is decorated with chandeliers, statues and frescoes, echoing the grandeur of the square where it is situated.

When Zairo was renovated in 1988, the original architecture of an earlier church on the site was uncovered and this has been skilfully incorporated into the design of the restaurant along with a 17th century fresco that has been preserved.

The restaurant’s statues and wall decorations recall the Roman activities that would once have taken place within the elliptical space of Prato della Valle, such as chariot races and theatre entertainment.

Zairo’s menu offers a wide choice of meat and fish dishes, some typical of the Veneto and some specialities from Puglia . There is also an extensive pizza list. For more details visit www.zairo.net

The restaurant is at number 51 Prato della Valle, close to the Basilica of Santa Giustina.
Zairo is open from 12.00 to 14.30 and from 19.00 to 01.00. It is closed on Mondays.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Scrovegni Chapel houses one of world’s greatest masterpieces

Stunning colours characterise
the chapel's frescoes
Padova’s reputation as a city of art is well and truly endorsed by Giotto’s amazing frescoes in la Cappella degli Scrovegni (the Scrovegni Chapel).
The frescoes are the only example of Giotto’s work in Padova, but are considered to be one of the greatest works of art in the world.
Dedicated to Santa Maria della Carita (Saint Mary of the Charity), the chapel was decorated with frescoes by Giotto between 1303 and 1305. He was commissioned to paint the frescoes by Enrico degli Scrovegni, who was hoping to atone for the sins of usury committed by himself and his dead father.
The frescoes narrate events in the lives of the Virgin Mary and Christ and the stunning scenes cover the side walls of the chapel. On the wall opposite the altar is Giotto’s magnificent Universal Judgment, which tells the story of human salvation and includes the figure of Enrico degli Scrovegni offering up a model of the chapel to the Virgin Mary in a desperate bid to save his father from hell.
Under a bright blue sky, the realistic figures with their powerful facial expressions and colourful clothes tell the compelling bible stories in a way that they had never been told before. The frescoes are universally acknowledged as a major artistic development, marking the beginning of modern art in Europe and the break with the Byzantine tradition.
Giotto was born in 1267 in Florence , where he learnt to paint with a sense of space, naturalism and drama. His revolutionary style was followed by many other painters in Padova later in the 14th century.
It is a miracle that these beautiful, colourful frescoes have survived as well as they have for the last 700 years.
The chapel was acquired by the city of Padova in 1880 and several specialised restoration operations have been carried out on them. Since the 1970s, the state of the building, the quality of air, polluting factors and the conservation of the frescoes themselves, have all been the subject of careful study.
The chapel can be accessed from Giardini dell’Arena off Piazza Eremitani, which is a short walk from the railway station along Corso del Popolo.
There is a special access building where visitors can wait and watch a video to prepare them for seeing the frescoes. The visits are carefully organised so that people can continue to enter the chapel and look at the frescoes without further jeopardising their condition.
Tickets for the Scrovegni Chapel should be booked in advance and collected one hour before the scheduled time for the visit.
For more information visit www.cappelladegliscrovegni.it


Thursday, May 10, 2012

Visit the Basilica of Padova’s much loved 'Santo'

The façade of the Basilica
The enormous Basilica di Sant’Antonio di Padova, or Basilica del Santo as it is known to local people, is one of the most important places of Christian worship in the world.
An estimated five million pilgrims visit the Basilica every year in order to file past and touch the tomb of their beloved Sant’Antonio, a Franciscan monk who became famous for his miracles.
The magnificent church in Piazza del Santo is an architectural masterpiece created between the 13th and 14th centuries, but it was later enriched with works of art by masters such as Titian, Tiepolo and the sculptor Donatello.
Saint Anthony’s Basilica is an imposing sight in the skyline even when you are some distance away as it has seven domes around a cupola, two campanili and tapering spires like the minarets of a mosque.
Inside, the church is in the plan of a Latin cross with a nave and aisles in the gothic tradition. The saint’s body lies in a marble tomb in the area known as the Chapel of the Tomb in the left transept.
The walls around the tomb are decorated with large 16th century marble reliefs that depict scenes from Saint Anthony’s life. But these are rather overshadowed by the impressive number  of offerings and photographs on display from people wishing to give thanks for the intervention of Sant'Antonio after surviving car crashes or serious illnesses. 
In a separate chapel, visitors can see relics of Saint Anthony and other important objects, such as a tunic believed to have been worn by the saint.
Also within the complex of the Basilica are four cloisters, il Museo Antoniano (Antoniana Museum), the Oratorio di San Giorgio (Oratory of Saint George) and the Scuola del Santo (School of the Saint).

How to reach la Basilica di Sant’Antonio

From the railway station in Piazzale Stazione take the tram and get off at the stop called simply, Santo.
Buses also run between the station and the Basilica.
On foot, walk down Corso del Popolo, Corso Garibaldi, Via Eremitani, Via Zabarella and Via del Santo.
Opening times: The Basilica is open from 06.20 to 19.00 in the winter and 06.20 to 19.45 in the summer. Admission is free.

Receive a warm welcome at Turismo Padova

The Caffe Pedrocchi
There is an excellent tourist information office in the centre of Padova, handily located in Galleria Pedrocchi close to the elegant Caffe Pedrocchi and the fascinating Piazza della Frutta.
There you will be able to ask for help and advice, obtain free maps and leaflets about the main things to see in Padova and request restaurant recommendations.
The Turismo Padova Terme Euganee office also provide information about the spa towns in the Euganean Hills and the medieval walled towns, villas and castles worth visiting throughout the province.
You can buy a PadovaCard to use during your stay which will give you free use of buses and trams, free parking and free or discounted entry to a wide range of sights of historical and artistic interest. A PadovaCard valid for 48 hours costs €16 and one valid for 72 hours costs €21.
The Turismo Padova office in Galleria Pedrocchi is open Monday to Saturday from 9.00 to 13.30 and from 15.00 to 19.00. Or for more information visit www.turismopadova.it.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Prato della Valle is an oasis in the centre of Padova

Statues line the canal around Prato della Valle
Padova’s unusual main piazza, Prato della Valle, is believed to be the largest public square in Italy and has become an elegant symbol of the city.

The elliptical shape of the prato (field) is a reminder of the large Roman theatre that once occupied the site.

Sant’Antonio used to preach sermons to huge crowds gathered there but the area later fell into disuse and became flooded and neglected.

The land was drained in the 18th century and a canal crossed by four bridges was created around an island planted with trees and lawns, which was later lined by statues of 78 eminent citizens of Padova.

Market stalls in the piazza
Prato della Valle is surrounded by old palaces, restaurants and bars and has often been the site for fairs and amusements in Padova, as well as regular markets.

It has become the terminus for the tram service that runs through Padova and nowadays provides a green space where local people can enjoy la passeggiata and meeting up with each other.